For just the second time this season the Calgary Flames have won back-to-back games. The Flames took advantage of a sluggish Nashville Predators team who were coming off a hard fought win over Edmonton a night earlier, and although it wasn’t a pretty win, it was an important and much needed two points nonetheless.
27-year-old defenseman Derek Smith scored the first goal of his NHL career on a nice pass from fellow rookie (although much younger) TJ Brodie. The goal came with just over a minute remaining in the first period but it would be all the Flames needed as Miikka Kiprusoff shut the door the rest of the way to preserve the shutout and a 1-0 victory.
Having not won two straight games in a month, this mini streak could not have come at a better time because it means the Flames will now have a good chance to do the unthinkable; win three straight hockey games as they host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night.
Where is Rene?
While Jarome Iginla has been at the head of trade talks for the past few days; his struggles fail in comparison to those of Rene Bourque. Coming off two straight 27 goal campaigns, Bourque has had a hard time contributing any type of offense for the Flames of late. With just one goal and one assist in his last 15 games, the left-winger badly needs to become a much greater threat in the offensive zone and get back to the goal-scoring ways that the club has become accustomed to the past three seasons.
First Donut Of The Year
The shut-out win over the Preds marked the first time the Flames were able to hold their opponents off the scoreboard this season and was the 41st of Miikka Kiprusoff’s career.
Sutter Safe For Now
The improvement in performance and results over the last two games has certainly made it a little easier to breathe for head coach Brent Sutter. Whereas Bruce Boudreau and Paul Maurice weren’t as lucky, Sutter’s job security appears to be safe. For the time being at least.
Calgary’s next seven games feature a handful of matchups that on paper appear to very winnable. While there is no such thing as an easy game in the NHL, the Flames schedule looks favorable with the likes of Columbus, Carolina, Colorado, Nashville and the Oilers making up six of the club’s next seven games.